Alpine's iXA-W404 Touchscreen iPhone Compatible Car Receiver Hands On

Alpine's iXA-W404 with its 4.3-inch QVGA touchscreen and iPhone compatibility is fully capable of navigating all your iPhone's music, movies, tv shows, and more by the touch of your finger.

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The Alpine headunit I tested was plugged into a iPod nano instead of an iPhone but an Alpine representative assured me it has the same functionality when connected to an iPhone.

Alpine's has had iPod compatibility for a few years and the iXA-W404's menu navigation for the iPod and iPhone is nothing new. There has always been touchscreen navigation based off your iPods media folders and this works the same with the iXA-W404's 4.3-inch touchscreen.

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The only notable feature is Alpine's attempt at mimicking Apple's Coverflow. The album cover browser is like a very basic Coverflow and only allow you to select full albums rather than specific tracks within an album like the real Coverflow.

Yea, this imitation Coverflow is a cool idea but using it on a small 4.3-inch screen is stupid because there is not enough screen real-estate to browse through a ton of albums, especially when trying to drive a car. This issue made me question why Alpine chose a 4.3-inch touchscreen form factor over their popular 7-inch touchscreen media loving IVA-W505 unit which would have made finger navigation of music by album cover a valuable feature.

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DISCUSSION

Thanks for doing the demo without actually figuring out how to use and navigate the product first. Seriously! It shows pretty well how counter-intuitive some of the UI is and how unresponsive the touch screen is. This looks like a great product to wait for version 2 of. Imagine trying to use that UI while driving!